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thing else that can be imagined by the heart of man; and till you see that goodness in a heavenly life, that you had rather live it than any life in the world. You are not converted to God indeed, till you had rather live in holiness, than in sin, if you had your freest choice; and till you would gladly be the strictest, holiest person that you know in the world; and long after more and more of it, and fain would reach perfection itself: for though we cannot be perfect here, yet no man is upright that desireth not to be perfect. For he that loveth holiness, as holiness, must needs love the greatest measure of holiness, with the greatest love. This is it that maketh sound converts to be so constant and faithful with God. A man is forward and ready to a work that he loves, when he draws back from it, as if it were a mischief, that hath no mind to do it. A man is hardly kept from the persons, and places, and employments that he loves : but a little will withdraw him from that which he loveth not. Why is it that we have so much ado to take off a drunkard from his companions and his lusts, but because he loves them better than temperance and gracious company? And why can we so hardly draw the lustful wretch from his filthy lusts, or the glutton, or the idle, sensual person from his needless or excessive recreations, but because they love them? And why is it that you cannot draw the worldling from his covetousness, but he parteth with his money almost as hardly as with his blood, but because he loveth it? And therefore what wonder if temptations be resisted, and the fairest baits of the world despised by him, that is truly in love with God? No wonder if nothing can turn back that man from the way to heaven, that is in love both with heaven and with the way. No wonder if that man stick close to Christ, and never forsake a holy life, that tasteth the sweetness of it, and feels it to do him good, and had rather go that way than any in the world. There is no true Christian but can say with David, that " a day in God's courts is better than a thousand; and he had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents (yea, or the palaces) of wickedness.” Do but mark those professors that prove apostates, and forsake the way of godliness which they seemed to embrace, and see whether they be not such as either took up some bare opinions and outward duties upon a flash of superficial illumina

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tion, or else such as were frightened into a course of religion, and so went on from duty to duty, for fear of being damned, when all the while their hearts were more another way,

and they had rather have been excused. These hypocrites are they that are dispating so oft the obligations to their duty, and asking, 'How do you prove that it is a duty to pray in my family, or a duty to observe the Lord's day, or to come constantly to the congregation, or to use the communion of the godly in private meetings, or to repeat sermons, or sing psalms, and the like?' Intimating that they are as birds in a cage, or hens in a pen, that are boring to get out, and had rather be at liberty. If it were not for the fear of the law of God that is upon them, they had rather let all these duties alone, or take them up but now and then at an idle time, when såtan and the flesh will give them leave. If a feast be prepared and spread before them, a good stomach will not stand to ask, 'How can you prove it my duty to eat?' but perhaps the sick that loath it may do so. If the cup be before the drunkard, hé doth not stand on these terms, 'How do you prove it my duty now to drink this cup and the other cup.' No, if he might have but leave, he would drink on, without any questioning whether it be a duty. If the gamester, or the whoremonger, might but be sure that he should escape the punishment, he would never stick at the want of a precept, and ask, “Is it my duty ? If there were but a gift of twenty pounds a man to be given to all the poor of the town, yea, and to all the people in general, I do not think I should meet with many people in the town that would draw back and say, 'What word of God commandeth me to take it ?'Or, How can you prove that it is my duty ?' And, why is all this, but because they have an inward love to the thing; and love will carry a man to thắt which seemeth good for him, without any command or threatening. If these ungodly wretches had one spark of spiritual life within them, and any taste and feeling of the matters that concern their own salvation, instead of asking,' How can you prove that I must pray with my family, or that I must keep the Lord's day, or that I must converse with the godly, and live a holy life? they would be readier to say, 'How can you prove that I may not pray with my family, and that I may not sanctify the Lord's day, and that I may not have communion with the saints in holiness? Seeing so great a mercy is offered to the world, why may not I partake of it as well as others? I can perceive in many that I converse with, the great difference between a heart that loves God and holiness, and a heart that seems religious and honest without such a love. The true convert perceiveth so much sweetness in holy duties, and so much spiritual advantage by them to his soul, that he is loath to be kept back; he cannot spare these ordinances and mercies, no more than he can spare the bread from his mouth, or the clothes from his back, yea, or the skin from his flesh; no, nor so much. He loveth them, he cannot live without them. At the worst that ever he is at, he had rather be holy than unholy, and live a godly than a fleshly, worldly life. And therefore, if he had but a bare leave from God, without a command to sanctify the Lord's day, and to live in the holy communion of the saints, he would joyfully take it with many thanks : for he need not be driven to his rest when he is weary, nor to his spiritual food when he is hungry, nor to Christ the refuge of his soul, when the curse and accuser are pursuing him. But the unsanctified hypocrite that never loved God or godliness in his heart, he stands questioning and inquiring for some proof of the necessity of these courses. And if he can but bring himself to hope that God will save him without so much ado, (which by the help of the devil he may easily be brought to hope,) away then goes the duty. If you could not shew him that there is a necessity of family prayer, and a necessity of sanctifying the Lord's day, and a necessity of forsaking his tippling and voluptuousness, and a necessity of living a heavenly life, he would quickly resolve of another course: for he had rather do otherwise if he durst. He never was religious from a true predominant love to God and a holy life, but for fear of hell, and for other inferior respects.

Remember this when you have precious opportunities before you, of doing or receiving good, and when you see that you have leave to take these opportunities, and yet you draw back, and are questioning, 'How we can prove it to be your duty ? Or that you cannot be saved without it? Do not these questions plainly shew that you love not the work and delight not in a holy life? and that you had rather let it alone? Are you not blind if you see not this is in yourselves? Yea, it is plain that you have such an averseness or hatred to God and a holy course of life, that if you did but know what shift to make to escape damnation, you would fly away from God and holiness, and have as little to do with them as you can.

Your questions and cavils do plainly declare this wicked enmity and backwardness of your hearts ; and

consequently shew how far you are from true conversion.

Not that I am of their mind that think there is any good which the law of Christ obligeth us not to accept, and which we can refuse without sin and danger to ourselves : for God doth both draw us, and drive us at once. But when the threatening and punishment only can prevail with men, and men love not God and godliness for themselves, but had rather have liberty to live as the ungodly, I shall never take one of these for a sanctified man, nor have any hope of the saving of such a soul, how far soever his fears may carry him from his outward sins, or to outward duties ; till God shall give him a better conversion than this, I say, I have not the smallest hope of this man's salvation. Then you are God's children, when the honour, the work, the family, the name of your Father are lovely and delightful to you: and when you grieve that there are any remnants of sin in your souls, and when your sins are to you as lameness to the lame, that pains them every step they go, and as sickness to the sick, that makes them groan, and groan again, and long to be rid of it: and when you think those the happiest men on earth that are the most holy, and wish from your hearts that you were such as they, though you had not a house to put your head in : when you look towards God with longing thoughts, and are grieved that your understandings can reach no nearer him, and know no more of him, and that

your hearts cannot embrace him with a more burning love: when you admire the beauty of a meek, a patient, a mortified, spiritual, heavenly mind, and long to have more of this yourself, yea, to be perfect in all holiness and obedience : when your hearts are thus brought over to God, that you had rather have him than any other, and rather live in his family any where, and rather walk in his ways than in any; then are you indeed converted, and never till then, whatever other dispositions you may have.

And now if that were my business, what abundance of reason might I shew you, to make you willing to come over unto God, with love, and with delight. Whom else can

you

love if he that is love itself seem not lovely to you? All loveliness is in him and from him; the creature hath none of itself, nor for itself: to love a life of sin, is to love the image and service of the devil, and to love that which feeds the flames of hell; what is it then to love this sin so well, as for the love of it to fly from God and godliness? Methinks men at the worst should love that which will do them good, and not prefer that before it which will hurt them. Do sinners indeed believe that God and holiness will do them hurt, and that sin will do them greater good? Is there ever a man so mad, that he dare speak this and stand to it? If indeed you think it best to live in sin, and therefore had rather keep it than leave it; your understandings are befooled, I had almost used Paul's phrase and said, bewitched; Gal. iii. 1. Will it do you any hurt to leave your beastly, sensual lives, and to "live soberly, righteously, and godly, , in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ ?” This is the doctrine of saving grace; Tit. ii. 11-13. Would it do you any harm to be assured of salvation, and ready to die, and to know that angels shall conduct your departing souls to Christ, and that you shall live in joy with him for ever? Or to be employed in those holy works that must prepare you for this day, and help you to this assurance? If God be naught for you, if holiness, and righteousness, and temperance be naught for you, then you may as well say, heaven is naught for you; and therefore you must resolve for sin and hell, and see whether that be good for you. I shall say no more of this point, because I have written of it already, in the conclusion of the “ Saints' Rest,” which I desire you to peruse.

Direct. XI. The next part of my advice is, ' If you would not have this saving work miscarry, turn then this present day and hour, without any more delay.'

Somewhat I have spoken of this already, and therefore shall say the less. But yet I shall back this Direction with such reasons as will certainly convince you, if you be not unreasonable, of the folly of delay, and shew you that it concerneth you presently to return. And though my reasons will be numerous, it is not the number, but the strength of them, that I shall urge you principally to consider; and

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